Would You Take Advice From A Stranger?

Who do you go to, for life-advice? Your father? Your mother? Perhaps an old trusted friend? That word “Trust”, no-doubt playing a big role in your decision. Meaning someone you know and have grown to trust over the years of your relationship. Someone who knows you in return and cares about you as a person. What about advice from an online stranger? Sound’s ridiculous even to consider, Right? Well you’d think so — but you’d be wrong! Going online to seek advice is all the rage today. That’s right, advice from total strangers!

They are everywhere! The self-proclaimed advice gurus of the blogosphere. Giving advice on how to live better, be happier, be healthier and better deal with your emotions. How to overcome fear, anxiety, rejection and that nagging inner-voice. How to better focus, be more successful and how to truly love thyself.

They give us personal lists and steps to follow: The 5 lessons of motivation, the 12 commandments for a happier life, 6 steps for a better tomorrow, success is only 3 steps away, 5 rules to follow for a better you!

So who are these wise and all-knowing advisers of the blogosphere? The self-proclaimed better-life-tipsters of the online world? Great students of philosophy? Psychologists with doctrines, Psychiatrists, Psychotherapists? Perhaps clinical Social Workers or Scientists with clinical research in hand?

Nope! The overwhelming majority have no claim to any such schooling in fact their only claim to advice-giving fame — is?… Are you ready for this?

Their large number of followings!

So in reality, they are people like you and me. They are homemakers, bricklayers, carpenters and retirees. Secretaries and factory workers, dog groomers and lonely social want-a-be’s. They may be bankers, pilots or construction workers. Then again, they may not be any of these — including who they say they be!

The blogosphere is saturated with authors hiding in anonymity. Masquerading under pseudonyms, made up names to disguise their true identities. Some, even manufacturing background stories of flight and fancy, serving as cover, perpetuating the illusion they portray.

Behind the protective wall of blogging obscurity, true selves are well-hidden. Authors set free to be anyone they choose to be. Not all of them of course, and done for different reasons, but enough of them to make one wonder. Because In the blogging world of hidden identity there are no face-value guarantees!

Regardless of whether your advice-giving blogger is who they say they are, most-likely other than occasional comment-conversations — they are complete strangers to you! You’ve never met them face to face, your relationship purely online in nature. So where does the trust come from to even consider what they say?

Why take advice from someone with no professional credentials? From someone that may not even be who they say they be? From a total stranger, one you’ve never even met in person? What is it that makes them alluring, legitimate in the eyes of the reader?

Ah yes, their large following’s!

This is what makes them legitimate in our eyes. In fact, and sadly so, makes any blog seem more legitimate in the eyes of the perusing reader. Yet large follow-numbers can be deceiving, in many instances not a true representation based on content alone. It’s the dirty little secret of the blogging World…

The art of artificially inflating following numbers.

Following’s can be and are traded for in a social-game of targeted schmoozing. Simply by jumping from one site to the other regardless of interest, purpose and intent premeditated for personal and self-serving gain — a click of the follow button on their site, can be traded for a follow-me click on yours!

This trading of follow-me clicks not always coming to fruition however for the most part an unspoken loose-agreement just the same. It’s the bloggers shame-game of tit-for-tat, I’ll scratch your back, if you scratch mine! I’ll Like and follow you — if you Like and follow me!

Now of course this process makes Liking and Following meaningless. Simply a trade beneficial to each others artificially-inflated growing numbers. Still, we’ve all played or have played this game of targeted social-schmoozing. At least in the early beginning’s when advertising one’s existence, in a blogging community numbering in the millions, is more akin to survival than anything else.

Yet as follow-numbers grow, so too the egotistical-self. Continuing now becoming a personal battle between integrity and ego. Between, pride of content and a large following — artificially-inflated or not!

So when does author integrity, self-respect and pride of content override the pretentiousness of socially perusing for add-on followings? Sadly for many, the answer is never! To them, Increasing following-numbers is all that matters, a blind-eye ever-more cast upon how they were obtained.

Their ego wins and integrity looses. A belief is formed, a belief in the very illusion that they themselves created. The illusion of success as in the direct representation of their following’s. Be it ill-gotten, traded for, or not!

As Stephen King’s Gunslinger might say — They have forgotten the face of their Father!

So beware the illusion of large followings and those without professional credentials giving advice. They may be wise in how to artificially inflate follow-numbers but giving advice on living a happier more productive life is another matter indeed.

The blogosphere is overflowing with advice-giving authors. They are everywhere, luring us in with personal antidotes, self-help recommendations and personal advice on whatever it is that ails you. All-too-often unqualified, no better equipped to give advice than your next-door neighbor. Whom at least is not a complete stranger. Hiding behind a wall of obscurity and tapping words of advice under cover of anonymity.

There are of course, some of us who have not forgotten the face of our fathers and have ceased playing the artificial inflating follow-game. Myself included, as explained in a recent post Follow Me! The Bloggers Obsession.

An additional good read on the subject comes from Jorge Medico and his post Wasting Time. I highly recommend checking out Jorge’s post and a visit to his site at MEDICO MUSINGS. Always an interesting read both topical and insightful.

PERSPECTIVE

Now of course, not all advice-givers are charlatans, nor do all give advice simply to gain new followings. Some advice-givers do so sparingly and with good intention. There are also many who’ve actually gone through the experience of what they are advising. Seeking truly to only help those in similar need.

There are also many qualified professionals who indeed know of what they speak. Yet these are easily discernible from the self-proclaimed better-life guru’s. Or the online Life-coach preaching rules of enlightenment to people he doesn’t even know.

This I suppose, is the heart of the issue with online advice. For the most-part, online advisers are total strangers, simply word-makers never met in person. Their advice, no-matter how well-sounding, in the grand scheme of things highly-unrelatable to both you and me.

Yes we all have shared experiences but ours are unique and in relation to who we are as individuals. What makes you tic, differs from me and differs again with all others. No all-encompassing rules of engagement can proclaim feasibility over all of us. No, what works for him will work for me will work for all and everyone!

In real life there are no secret-steps to personal enlightenment. No magical formula to follow to live a happier fulfilling life! No set of rules that will make you better-able to cope, or achieve or become more successful. These are only well-repeated generalizations that sound sincere in their own belief.

Yet catchy titles promoting self-betterment are all the rage today. Many bloggers now dedicating their entire sites to this new-age lure of self-help. Whether done for love of thy neighbor, or for an increase in followings is for you to decide.

In the end the question remains the same..

Where do you get your advice?

A parent, a relation, an old trusted friend?

Or online from a stranger?

WordofWayne©

 

 

 

 

All authoring rights reserved by the WordofWayne©

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10 thoughts on “Would You Take Advice From A Stranger?

    1. ‘Everything is not what it seems’ indeed my friend! It’s so bad that some college and university courses now teach how to first investigate the authors background, their belief’s, affiliates and associations, before even considering their written content. A good idea in an online world filled with misinformation, intentional or not!

      Sometimes just a quick author ‘Google search” can reveal all you need to know. It’s harder with WP blogs because of all the hidden identities but I find a quick check of their previous post-titles — gives you an idea about the sincerity and accuracy of what they are saying. Checking the source of online content is always a good idea!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Good post Wayne! There is also a practice I learned about on Twitter called “Churning.” The person plays the follow game by following you first. You follow back based upon the unwritten rules of Net courtesy, and then they immediately unfollow you. This inflates their numbers and they scream – “look at me, I’m so important that I have 10K followers, but I only follow 300 of you commoners.” Twitter makes it easy to spot these folks and you can unfollow them. Instagram makes it very difficult to see who’s playing this game. So does FB and so does WP. So I also won’t follow people who have such lopsided numbers of followers. And I stay away from all the marketers too. Yes, and I’ve laughed out loud at the terms “thought leaders” and “influencers.” Again, assigning unearned credibility based on the numbers game. They influence me to stay away from them. I used to take advice from my Father, but since he passed, my Daughter is a good source. Those two truly represented my interests. I also haven’t figured out how the “Discover” section on WP is supposed to work. If we believe their numbers, some 53,840,394 people are following that “title.” If you open an individual’s post in that section, it reflects the same number of followers for that post – doesn’t make any sense. And how does one become a “Golden Child” on WP to be included with their “numbers.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, I wasn’t aware of that churning game. Sound similar to the crap that’s going on here in the blogosphere. Very distasteful! In my mind a blogs success should be the direct result of well-written content not insincere social-schmoozing or trading for follow-me clicks.

      Perhaps WP could fix this by arbitrarily decreasing ones follow number when an unfollow occurs? And/Or also automatically do so when a follower hasn’t accessed your site in a set number of days or months? This way follow numbers would give more of a true indication to the popularity of a site. As for now I refuse to play the follow-me game and any outside socializing I do is done with genuine interest in what others are saying. Thanks Harold! Long days and pleasant nights!

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Yes, when someone unfollows! Also when they haven’t accessed your blog in many months! This would give a true representation of your Followers and perhaps eliminate the trading-for game. WP though, likely will not go for it. Like all businesses they are in it for profit and increasing memberships which also leads to increases in profit.

          So in the end, reinvesting in accurate follow-me numbers will not be on their list anytime soon — if ever! Looks like we’re stuck with what we got!

          Like

  2. Hi Wayne, there is an aphorism in Hindi “सुनो सबकी, करो मन की” If I try to translate, it would be – ‘listen to everyone, but do what your inner voice tells you.’ Once I searched for articles and watched videos (they are copious, I was amazed) teaching self-help, and I concluded they all say the same thing and amazingly that’s all that we either heard from our elders or know from common sense.

    As you very well expressed 👌 👏👏:
    “In real life, there are no secret-steps to personal enlightenment. No magical formula to follow to live a happier fulfilling life! No set of rules will make you better able to cope or achieve or become more successful. These are only well-repeated generalizations that sound sincere in their own belief.”

    And yes, the statistics in the blogosphere, yes yes yes, it is very deceptive.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Divya! It’s true, your right most of it is wishy-washy common sense dressed up to seem like more. Yet for some reason (maybe the pandemic) these sites are all the rage today? That’s why so many bloggers are doing it now because of its popularity. And because it increases their following’s!

      I wonder if those now making a career of giving online advice, or who are now doing so regularly in their blog — take their own advice? Why wouldn’t they if what they claim is true or even helpful? You’d think that after taking all that good advice from themselves over time, they’d now be among the most well-adjusted, emotionally well-balanced people in the world! Maybe some of them even believe this but — I don’t think so! Lol!

      Liked by 2 people

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